This is the blessing for rain after drought:

Come down, wash the air so it shimmers,
a perfumed shawl of lavender chiffon.

Let the parched leaves suckle and swell.
Enter my skin, wash me
for the little chrysalis of sleep
rocked in your plashing.

In the morning the world is peeled
to shining.

This is the blessing for sun after long rain:

Now everything shakes itself free and rises.
The trees are bright as pushcart ices.
Every last lily opens its satin thighs.

The bees dance and roll in pollen
and the cardinal at the top of the pine
sings at full throttle, fountaining.

This is the blessing for a ripe peach:

This is luck made round.
Frost can nip the blossom, kill the bee.
It can drop, a hard green useless nut.
Brown fungus, the burrowing worm
that coils in rot can blemish it
and wind crush it on the ground.
Yet this peach fills my mouth
with juicy sun.

This is the blessing
for the first garden tomato:

Those green boxes of tasteless acid
the store sells in January,
those red things with the savor
of wet chalk, they mock our fragrant name.

How fat and sweet you are weighing down
my palm, warm as the flank of a cow
in the sun. You are the savor of summer
in a thin red skin.

This is the blessing for a political victory:

Although I shall not forget that things
work in increments and epicycles
and sometime leaps that half the time fall back down, let’s not relinquish dancing
while the music fits into our hips
and bounces our heels.

We must never forget,
pleasure is real as is pain.

The blessing for the return
of a favorite cat,
The blessing for love returned,
for friends returned,
for money received unexpected,
the blessing for the rising of the bread,
the sun, the oppressed.

I am not sentimental about old men
mumbling the Hebrew by rote
with no more feeling than one says gesundheit.

But the discipline of blessings
is to taste each moment, the bitter,
the sour, the sweet and the salty,
and be glad for what does not hurt.

The art is in compressing attention
to each little and big blossom
of the tree of life,
to let the tongue sing each fruit,
its savor, its aroma and its use.

Attention is love, what we must give
children, mothers, fathers, pets,
our friends, the news, the woes of others.

What we want to change we curse
and then pick up a tool.

Bless whatever you can with eyes and hands
and tongue.

If you can’t bless it, get ready
to make it new.


(c) 19997 from The Art of Blessing the Day:
Poems with a Jewish Theme
by Marge Pierce.
New York: Alfred A Knopf, Publisher by Middlemarsh, Inc.

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